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Score Ranges


Math
Reading & Writing
Combined
Below 500
Below Average
Under 50%

These scores are not as strong as the average testing population scores on the PSAT.

500-550
Good

These scores put you ahead of the pack (50%+), but won’t set you apart from the crowd.

560-610
Competitive
Top 25%

These scores are considered solid scores (top 25% of all test takers) and indicate you’ll be off to a good start with SAT prep, too.

620+
Top Scores
Top 10% of Test Takers

These scores will put you in the top 10% of all test takers and will increase your chances of getting a scholarship.

Below 500
Below Average
Under 50%

These scores are not as strong as the average testing population scores on the PSAT.

500-550
Good

These scores put you ahead of the pack (50%+), but won’t set you apart from the crowd.

560-610
Competitive
Top 25%

These scores are considered solid scores (top 25% of all test takers) and indicate you’ll be off to a good start with SAT prep, too.

620+
Top Scores
Top 10% of Test Takers

These scores will put you in the top 10% of all test takers and will increase your chances of getting a scholarship.

940 or below
Below Average
Under 50%

These scores are not as strong as the average testing population scores on the PSAT.

950-1060
Good

These scores put you ahead of the pack (50%+), but won’t set you apart from the crowd.

1070-1200
Competitive
Top 25%

These scores are considered solid scores (top 25% of all test takers) and indicate you’ll be off to a good start with SAT prep, too.

1210-1520
Top Scores
Top 10% of Test Takers

These scores will put you in the top 10% of all test takers and will increase your chances of getting a scholarship.

What does your PSAT score mean?

Total Score

Your score will range from 320 to 1520 and is calculated by combining your Evidence-Based Reading and Writing with your Math score.

Raw Score

There is no penalty on the PSAT for wrong answers. Your raw score will be the sum of all the questions you answer correctly.

percentile comparison icon

Percentiles

The percentile indicates how well you did compared to other test takers. If you scored in the 72nd percentile, for example, you did better than 72% of all test takers.

Benchmarks

Benchmarks show whether you are on track to succeed in college classes in each subject area.

How is the PSAT Scored?

Each correct answer on the PSAT counts as one point toward your raw score. Next, your raw score will be converted to your scaled score. This scaled score will range from 160 to 760 for each section, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Math (there is no essay on the PSAT). Your composite score is the combination of this scaled score from each section.

The College Board, the organization that administers the test, uses a process called “equating” to make sure the scores are scaled fairly and there’s no advantage for taking the PSAT on a particular day. This means that you can feel confident comparing your scores to someone who took the test on a different day than you.

Your two percentile ranks compare you to other students in your grade. One of your percentile ranks will compare your scores to those of typical U.S. students in your grade (whether or not they’ve taken the PSAT), and the other percentile rank will compare your scores to those of typical U.S. PSAT test takers in your grade.

In addition to your scaled scores, you will receive 3 test scores, 2 cross-test scores, and 7 subscores. The test scores for Reading, Writing and Language, and Math will range from 8 to 38, and these scores are used to calculate your Selection Index for the National Merit Scholarship Program. For more information on your Selection Index, see All About Scholarships. The cross-test scores for Analysis in History/Social Studies and Analysis in Science will also range from 8 to 38. Finally, you will receive subscores ranging from 1 to 15 in the following areas: Command of Evidence, Words in Context, Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions, Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Math.

Finally, you'll get a benchmark for each section and subscore of the PSAT. These College Readiness Benchmarks are the scores that represent your mastery of the skills needed for college. If you meet or exceed the benchmark, the horizontal bar of your score will be green and you’re on track to be ready for college when you graduate from high school. If you’re close to the benchmark but not quite meeting it yet, the horizontal bar will be yellow. If you need to strengthen your skills to be ready for college when you graduate, the horizontal bar will be red. The College Readiness Benchmarks are designed to help you focus your future studying and work on your areas of opportunity before starting college classes.

The PSAT Score Report

Scores will be available to some students on December 11 and all will be accessible by December 13. You will need to login to your College Board account to view your scores. Some schools may hand out and explain these score reports to their students during the school day, while other schools may mail these score reports directly to parents. Either way, you should contact your counselor if you have any questions about your PSAT score report.

In addition to all of the scores mentioned above, the report will provide you with summaries of your performance related to your scores. You’ll be able to dig deep and figure out exactly how you performed on individual questions, classified by both difficulty and topic.

Your online PSAT score reports will also help you figure out what you can do to better prepare for both the SAT/ACT and college. Detailed feedback for each question includes the correct answer, your answer, the difficulty level, and the subscore/cross-test scores related to that question. Clicking on the question number will display the question, answer, and a detailed explanation so you can use your performance on the PSAT to guide your studying for the SAT or ACT. The “AP Potential and Coursework” section will include a table listing each AP subject, your predicted AP potential, and information about which courses your school offers and which courses match the major you select from a drop-down menu.

Before putting away your PSAT score report, make a plan for college admissions test prep. Do some research to find out more about average scores at the colleges you’re applying to by visiting their Undergraduate Admissions website. Compare your PSAT score to these average scores and think about how much time you might need to reach your goal score and get accepted to those schools. It’s common to spend 2–3 months preparing for the SAT or ACT, but most students take the test more than once and prep for each test date.

Once you decide how long you will prep, think about how you want to prep. Some students are successful studying using only a book or a self-paced course, while other students need the intensive support provided by a private tutor, especially if they don’t have a lot of time. Many students enjoy the motivation that comes from working with a live teacher, whether that teacher is in person or live online. The right prep for you will depend greatly on your current PSAT score, your goal SAT or ACT score, the amount of time you have to prep, and your best learning environment. No matter how you prepare, the most important thing is being confident about reaching your goal score when it’s time to take your college admissions test.

All About Scholarships

Your PSAT/NMSQT scores are sent to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the National Hispanic Recognition Program, the National Scholarship Service, and the Telluride Seminar Scholarships. In addition, College Board partners with groups such as the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund, the Cobell Scholarship (awarded by Indigenous Education, Inc.), and The Jackie Robinson Foundation to connect test takers with scholarships based on their test scores. For more on these programs, visit College Board’s website.

The most well-known scholarship associated with the PSAT is the National Merit Scholarship. This scholarship, which is offered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, provides almost 10,000 scholarships to students based on their outstanding abilities, skills, and accomplishments. Each year, the top 50,000 scorers on the PSAT get commendation letters from the National Merit program, and 16,000 of those students qualify as Semifinalists based on their performance compared to others in their state. There are three main types of National Merit Scholarships: National Merit $2500 Scholarships, corporate-sponsored scholarships, and college-sponsored Merit Scholarships.

Most parents and students have the same question about the PSAT and the National Merit Scholarship: what score will earn me a spot as a semifinalist? There isn’t one set score that will guarantee you make the cutoff. Each state has a preset number of Semifinalists, so the exact Selection Index used by your state will be whatever score more closely matches this preset number. Once the state has established its cutoff score, the students from that state who have earned that score or higher will become Semifinalists. In addition to varying by state, this number can vary by year. Regardless of the exact cutoff for your state, all of the students who qualify earn high scores.

All Semifinalists will be provided with scholarship application materials explaining the requirements and next steps for being awarded a National Merit Scholarship. In addition to the requirements relating to taking the test and enrolling in college following high school, Finalists must:

  • complete the National Merit Scholarship Application, which includes writing an essay;
  • have a record of very high academic performance in all of grades 9 through 12 and in any college course work taken;
  • be fully endorsed for Finalist standing and recommended for a National Merit Scholarship by their high school principal;
  • take the SAT and earn scores comparable to their semifinalist PSAT score; and
  • provide any other documentation and information that the National Merit Scholarship Corporation requests.

Corporate sponsors can offer Special Scholarships in addition to National Merit Scholarships, and the same screening process is used for Special Scholarship recipients. In addition to meeting all of the requirements involved in becoming a Finalist, corporate sponsors often have an additional requirement that the Finalist must be a child of an employee (unless the number of eligible Finalists is smaller than the number of available scholarships). College-sponsored Merit Scholarships are offered to Finalists who plan to attend a sponsor’s school.